GB2217044A - A programmable electronic logic and timing device - Google Patents

A programmable electronic logic and timing device Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2217044A
GB2217044A GB8905739A GB8905739A GB2217044A GB 2217044 A GB2217044 A GB 2217044A GB 8905739 A GB8905739 A GB 8905739A GB 8905739 A GB8905739 A GB 8905739A GB 2217044 A GB2217044 A GB 2217044A
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GB
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
module
device according
programmable
timer
information
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB8905739A
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GB2217044B (en )
GB8905739D0 (en )
Inventor
Roderick John Collins
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
IMI PACTROL
IMI PACTROL Ltd
Original Assignee
IMI PACTROL
IMI PACTROL Ltd
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Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B19/00Programme-control systems
    • G05B19/02Programme-control systems electric
    • G05B19/04Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers
    • G05B19/12Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers using record carriers
    • G05B19/124Programme control other than numerical control, i.e. in sequence controllers or logic controllers using record carriers using tapes, cards or discs with optically sensed marks or codes
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/23Pc programming
    • G05B2219/23363Barcode
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/20Pc systems
    • G05B2219/23Pc programming
    • G05B2219/23383Lightpen

Description

n n 2,.2 17 -0,4 4 1 1 ELECTRONIC PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC AND TIMING DEVICE The

present invention relates to electronic programmable logic and timing devices.

At present, many large scale integrated circuits having a dedicated function are being produced from microcomputer based circuits and uncommitted logic arrays.

The end product is typically an electronic assembly capable of controlling one or more output lines on a time or logic basis, often triggered by a change in state of one or more input lines.

The end-user of such a product is given a limited programming facility to enable local logic and/or timing functions to be carried out. To enable programming to be achieved by the end-user, one or more programming push buttons or switches may be provided together with some form of display to enable the user's added program to be verified. The local programming feature thereby adds significant costs to the overall controller cost.

In addition, some end users, particularly in the domestic situation, find such programming difficult and this can lead to either a reluctance to buy the product or an inability to use all its features correctly.

One common example of a programmable controller used in a domestic situation is the central heating/hot water time controller, where the operation of a central heating boiler and water pump can be automatically controlled by programmable time switches.

Another product is a programmable time switch to control the operation of a domestic electric immersion heater, the timer being set to energise the 2 heater when the electrical supply tariff is at its lowest.

Recently there has been a move away from electro-mechanical timers and into electronic-based units. As described above all current units suffer from the problem of being difficult to programme while costing typically 50% more than their electro-mechanical equivalents.

In our co-pending patent application No 8720247 we describe and claim an electronic programmable logic and timing device comprising interconnectable modules containing respectively a programmable timer/control circuit and programming means, arranged such that when a desired programme has been set using the programming means (whilst the latter is connected to the programmable timer/control module) the programming module can be detached from the timer/control module leaving only the latter module permanently connected to the system being controlled. Usually, the timer/control module would be thus programmed during the production stage, the ultimate user therefore usually purchasing only the pre-programmed timer/control module which, because it is devoid of programmiing facilities, is relatively cheap. It also obviates the need for the user to programme the module himself. However, it does, of course, suffer from the disadvantage that it is inflexible although the user could alter the programme, if desired, by purchasing the programming module, connecting it to the timer/control module and re-programming it as desired; this, however, will largely defeat the cost advantage.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved programmable logic and timing 3 device which has the cost advantages of the device described and claimed in our afore-mentioned application but which is more flexible in that it is readily programmable and, optionally, re-programmable by the user so as to operate according to any desired one of a plurality of pre- determined programmes.

According to one aspect of the present invention, therefore, there is provided an electronic logic and timing device comprising a programmable timer/control module, a plurality of discrete sets of encoded information corresponding to respective pre-determined programmes, and reading means forming part of, or connectable to, the timer/control module and adapted to "read" a selected one or more of said sets of encoded information thereby causing the timer/control module to become programmed in accordance with the selected set(s).

Preferably, the sets of encoded information are each in the form of a bar code, that is to say, typically, a number of lines of various thicknesses printed, in spaced, parallel relationship with one another, on a background of contrasting colour, for example black lines on a white background, and the reading means comprises a combination of a light source and a light sensor, for example in the form of a so-called "light pen". The use and mode of operation of bar codes is well-known in, for example, the merchandising field and need not, therefore, be described in detail herein.

However, the encoded information may be of any other suitable form, for example, in magnetic form stored on, for example, a card in which case there would, of course, be provided a suitable reading means therefor either integral with, or connectable to, the 4 module.

Preferably, the light pen is connectable by a lead and plug-in-socket connection to the timer/control module and is disconnected therefrom once the desired programme has been input into the module; it may, however, be permanently connected to the module. Alternatively, the light source and light sensor may form an integral part of the module.

The sets of encoded information, for example the bar codes, are preferably contained collectively in a booklet (but may alternatively, for example, be on individual cards or the like) and the user then simply programmes the timer/control module by causing the reading means to read the desired information, for example by passing the light pen over the bar code corresponding to the desired programme. Needless to say, it is necessary for there to be, for the benefit of the user, an identification of the programme represented by each bar code and this may be by means of an appropriate textual or graphical explanation which, after input of the programme, may be affixed to the timer/control module in order to serve as a reminder to the user of the prevailing programme he or she has selected. As indicated earlier, a device of the invention is preferably continually re-programmable whereby the user may vary the programme from time-to-time, for example, in the case of a heating/hot water system, from a typical summer cycle to a winter one and vice-versa.

Where a device of the invention is intended to control a central heating/hot water system, it will be appreciated that the encoded information essentially comprises information relating to, inter alia, on/off times and mode (ie. central heating and/or water i 11 -1 heating) selection and that the timer/control module will need to have reference to the time of day. This may be achieved by incorporating into the module means to set, and optionally to display, the time of day, although the provision of such a display is preferably avoided because it is a relatively expensive feature and is largely redundant. However, the cost of a device of the invention may be further reduced by programming the time into the module by means of encoded information, for example bar codes corresponding to hours and, say, quarter hours (or even smaller units of time) whereby the approximate time of day may be entered.

According to a second aspect of the invention is there is provided a logic and timing module programmable in the aforesaid manner. Preferably the module comprises an integrated circuit which performs timekeeping and programme storage functions and which is selected to demand a very low supply power, typically less than 10 MA at 1.5 volts d.c., the integrated circuit being disposed in the timer/controller module and preferably being coupled permanently to a stand-by battery power source in the module.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of controlling a heating installation, for example a domestic central heating and/or hot water installation, utilising a device as defined above.

The invention will now be described in more detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawing, which shows diagrammatically one embodiment of a programmable logic and timing device in accordance with the invention.

6 The device comprises a timer/controller module 10 and a light pen 12 which is capable of being plugged into the module 10 when a programming or reprogramming step is to be carried out. In the drawing, the light pen 12 is shown plugged into the module 10.

The module 10 is adapted to be permanently mounted in its operational site, for example, adjacent to a domestic central heating boiler, and contains an electronic timer/logic circuit/light pen interface 14, an output interface 16 and a power supply 18. The power supply 18 is coupled to the mains and supplies low voltage d.c. to the circuits 14 and 16 and to the light pen 12. A long life battery 20, which can be a primary source or be re-chargeable, is provided in the module 10 to maintain operation of the timer/logic circuit 14 in the event of mains failure. The output interface provides output signals for transmission to the relevant systems or product being controlled, for example for controlling the on/off times of a domestic central heating/hot water system.

In order to programme the module 10, the user simply passes the light pen 12 over a selected bar code, shown at 22, being one of a number of bar codes corresponding to different programmes. Each bar code is accompanied by a graphic indication 24 of the programme to which it relates. In the example illustrated, the programme provides for the heating of hot water only between 6 and 9 o'clock in the morning and between 5 and 9 o'clock in the evening. There will also be provided a series of bar codes (not shown) whereby the time of day may be input into the module 10. The module may include a visual indicator, for example a neon lamp, arranged to illuminate and Z- 7 thereby signify acceptance of the input programme or other data.

Once the programming step has been carried out, the light pen 12 may be unplugged from the modul 10 and the user then sees only a "black box" which needs no adjustment in the normal course of events and which provides the user with a tamperproof time controller capable of remaining on time for the normal operational life of the product while obviating the need for costly programming camponents such as programming push buttons, displays and associated circuitry.

If reprogramming is required within the life of the product, the light pen 12 is simply plugged into the module 10, is passed over the appropriate bar code and is then unplugged.

The module 10 may further include one or more manual over-ride switches, eg. push-buttons, and mode indicators, eg. neon lamps, as is conventional in products of this type.

8

Claims (8)

CLAIMS:
1. A programmable electronic logic and timing device comprising a programmable timer/control module, a plurality of discrete sets of encoded information corresponding to respective pre-determined programmes, and reading means forming part of, or connectable to, the said module and adapted to "read" a selected one or more of said sets of encoded information thereby causing the module to become programmed in accordance with the selected set(s).
2. A device according to claim 1 wherein each set of encoded information is in the form of a bar code.
3. A device according to claim 2 wherein the reading means is a light pen.
is
4. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein the sets of information are contained collectively in a booklet or the like.
5. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein each set of encoded information is accompanied by a textual and/or graphical identification of the programme that it represents.
6. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 5 wherein real time is programmable into said module.
7. A device according to claim 6 wherein real time is programmable into the module by means of encoded time information readable by said reading means whereby at least approximate real time of day may be recorded by the module.
8. A device according to claim 7 wherein said encoded time information is in the form of a plurality of bar codes corresponding to hours and, for example, minutes. g. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 8 A 1 1 1 1 9 70488 that, once programmed, is re-programmable. 10. A programmable electronic logic and timing device comprising a timer/control module that it programmable in a manner set out in any one of claims 1 to B. 11. A programmable electronic logic and timing device substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to, and as illustra ted in, the accompanying drawing. 12. A method of controlling the on/off cycles of a heating installation, for example a central heating and/or hot water installation, utilising a device according to claim 10 that has been programed in a manner set out in any one of claims 1 to 8.
Published 1989 at The Patent Office, State House, W171 High Holborn, London WC IR 4TP. Farther copies maybe obtained from The Patent OftLce. Sales Branch, St Mary Cray, Orpington, Kent BF-5 3RD. Printed by Multiplex techniques ltd, St Mary Cray, Kent, Con. 1/87
GB8905739A 1988-03-15 1989-03-13 A central heating and/or hot water installation controlled by an electronic programmable logic and timing device Expired - Fee Related GB2217044B (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8806119A GB8806119D0 (en) 1988-03-15 1988-03-15 Electronic programmable logic & timing device

Publications (3)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB8905739D0 GB8905739D0 (en) 1989-04-26
GB2217044A true true GB2217044A (en) 1989-10-18
GB2217044B GB2217044B (en) 1992-07-29

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Family Applications (2)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB8806119A Pending GB8806119D0 (en) 1988-03-15 1988-03-15 Electronic programmable logic & timing device
GB8905739A Expired - Fee Related GB2217044B (en) 1988-03-15 1989-03-13 A central heating and/or hot water installation controlled by an electronic programmable logic and timing device

Family Applications Before (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB8806119A Pending GB8806119D0 (en) 1988-03-15 1988-03-15 Electronic programmable logic & timing device

Country Status (2)

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EP (1) EP0333402A3 (en)
GB (2) GB8806119D0 (en)

Families Citing this family (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2241911B (en) * 1990-03-14 1993-11-17 Norville Optical Co Ltd Ophthalmic lens manufacture
FR2686715B1 (en) * 1992-01-24 1997-03-07

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0042600A2 (en) * 1980-06-21 1981-12-30 International Standard Electric Corporation Entertainment electronics apparatus with a programme control unit for preselection of parts of radio and/or television programmes
US4323773A (en) * 1980-01-17 1982-04-06 Litton Systems, Inc. Bar code controlled microwave oven
EP0121147A1 (en) * 1983-03-09 1984-10-10 Rolf Dr. Noack Microprocessor heating control
EP0121200A2 (en) * 1983-04-02 1984-10-10 Bertold Dr. Romacker Device for individual zones temperature regulation
EP0122409A2 (en) * 1983-03-17 1984-10-24 Behr-Thomson Dehnstoffregler GmbH Thermostatically controlled actuator
EP0123099A1 (en) * 1983-03-14 1984-10-31 INDUSTRIE ZANUSSI S.p.A. Program unit for electric household appliances with optical input system

Family Cites Families (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4329933A (en) * 1981-06-22 1982-05-18 The Singer Company Universal expansion module
GB2109598B (en) * 1981-11-04 1985-07-10 Sony Corp Controlling electronic devices
FR2517085B1 (en) * 1981-11-20 1985-05-03 Sony Corp

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4323773A (en) * 1980-01-17 1982-04-06 Litton Systems, Inc. Bar code controlled microwave oven
EP0042600A2 (en) * 1980-06-21 1981-12-30 International Standard Electric Corporation Entertainment electronics apparatus with a programme control unit for preselection of parts of radio and/or television programmes
EP0121147A1 (en) * 1983-03-09 1984-10-10 Rolf Dr. Noack Microprocessor heating control
EP0123099A1 (en) * 1983-03-14 1984-10-31 INDUSTRIE ZANUSSI S.p.A. Program unit for electric household appliances with optical input system
EP0122409A2 (en) * 1983-03-17 1984-10-24 Behr-Thomson Dehnstoffregler GmbH Thermostatically controlled actuator
EP0121200A2 (en) * 1983-04-02 1984-10-10 Bertold Dr. Romacker Device for individual zones temperature regulation

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB2217044B (en) 1992-07-29 grant
GB8905739D0 (en) 1989-04-26 grant
EP0333402A2 (en) 1989-09-20 application
EP0333402A3 (en) 1990-01-31 application
GB8806119D0 (en) 1988-04-13 grant

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PCNP Patent ceased through non-payment of renewal fee

Effective date: 20000313